On Friday, a senior adviser in the U.S. Department of Interior rescinded a January Trump administration decision to grant grazing allotments to Hammond Ranches in the Burns, OR area.


Steven Hammond and his father Dwight were both convicted of arson for setting fire to rangeland that eventually spilled on to federal property. The two men were sent to prison for mandatory five-year sentences. That led to the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for 41 days in 2016, and the eventual death of one occupier shot to death by Oregon State Police.

The new memo released late last week says the Trump administration had not allowed for sufficient time to receive and consider public challenges to the Hammond’s permit for Hammond Ranches Inc. That memo directed the Bureau of Land Management to further consider the matter.

Following Friday's memo, the Oregon Farm Bureau released this statement:

The Hammond family are long-standing pillars of the Harney County community who have been subjected to continued government overreach while sustainably managing their ranch for the benefit of the local community, local ecosystems, and generations of their family. The decision to issue their grazing permit should be a criteria-based process, and one that BLM approaches objectively. The Hammonds have demonstrated several times that all applicable factors favor them being restored their permit, including the family’s record of stewardship, their ownership of intermingled private land and several range improvements, and their contributions to the local economy.

It is fundamentally unfair to continually subject this family to ever-changing regulatory whims, and in the process, jeopardize their livelihood, proper rangeland management, and ability to fully utilize their private lands. The Hammond’s permit should be restored, and the family should be allowed to move forward with their lives in peace.

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